What’s Right With Kansas

Size Matters: How Big Government Puts the Squeeze on America's Families, Finances, and Freedom (and Limits the Pursuit of Happiness) by Joel Miller


Intellectual Fraud

Intelligent Design

Mega Fix

Ron Brown

Popes & Bankers

TWA Flight 800






Book Review by Jack Cashill

© WorldNetDaily
January 3, 2006 (Top article on WND Commentary page)

There is a certain class of conservatives that one meets at parties or sees on TV—or even reads in books—that will go on at length about what everyone, in that circle at least, knows to be true. This is understandable in that certain observations about the relationship between people and their government seem to be true beyond dispute. Unfortunately, such goings-on tend to be tedious.

To his great credit, Joel Miller makes the truisms of his new book, Size Matters, seem altogether fresh and relevant and worth restating. For a young generation of conservatives and libertarians, one of whom is Miller himself, the revelations in this book may seem as just that—revelations. For those of us well schooled in Bastiat and Hayek and Milton Friedman, Miller’s presentations makes us aware of the importance of continuing education for all of us. He does this by bringing the classics to life and making seem as essential today as they were when written.

Miller makes the necessary point that the third in the triad of the nation’s essentials—after, of course, life and liberty—is the often slighted and even more often misunderstood “pursuit of happiness.” Miller poses as something of a thesis statement, “What do we say when the government itself jeopardizes happiness and stands in the way of our pursuit.”

The question, “What do we say?” is well posed. For what seems true beyond dispute to even cocktail party conservatives seems to elude those enlightened souls who control our media and shape our culture. Until President Bush backed extra federal control over education in “No Child Left Behind,” they had scarcely met the piece of regulation, federal or local, that troubled them.

The net result of this excess regulation, as Miller deftly shows, is not only an added cost to the products of services, but also, and more importantly, the warping of our very way of life. I took particular interest in his chapter, “What’s Right with Kansas,” given my own inclusion in Thomas Frank’s preposterous best-seller, “What’s The Matter with Kansas.”

Unfortunately, Kansas is not nearly the hotbed of deregulated capitalism Frank imagines it to be. Still, despite its lack of natural attractions, its relative lack of regulation helps it outperform states like New York and California on most key economic variables. What is more, Kansas remains much more hospitable to the nurturing and growth of communities and families than places like Seattle, New York, and the Bay Area where, as Miller points out, dogs outnumber children, the one unprotected endangered species in that part of the world.

Miller has a deft way of finding fresh examples that are memorable and quotable. Although the subject matter in other hands can be depressing, Miller manages to keep his arguments lucid, smart, and just light enough to be read at bedtime.

Read the book, and you will not lose many arguments yourself in the future.



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